"This movie takes a look at surfing in a way not many other movies have. This is the only surf movie I've seen that takes such a philosphical perspective on such a stereotyped sport. Yeah the movie can get a little corny at times, and yeah the acting can get a little cheesy, but the things they say are actually pretty deep. At one point in the movie the main character goes into a sort of monologue, explaining his motivation for surfing... If you really pay attention to what he's saying, it makes a lot of sense. It might help having a bit of ocean-sport experience to really relate to the things that are said... But the movie really provides a deeper look into surfing than the "Shaka brah, that wave was epic"-type movies.The only reason I'm not giving this 5 stars is because there are some really strange sequences. And not only are they strange, they're pretty random. I don't know if they were supposed to have some sort of artistic merit, but if they did, I didn't catch it. I found myself watching bizzarre clips of film a little more often than I would have liked, but I can't say it detracted from the film.If anything, you should see this movie for its terrific footage. The surfers highlighted are truly awesome surfers, and the waves you'll see are simply awe-inspiring. I lived on the North Shore of Oahu for a period of my life, and I was lucky enough to experience the wonder of the "Big Seasons" with my own two eyes... This movie brought back those feelings on many levels, and not many other movies have been able to do that.Overall, I found this to be a pretty entertaining movie. It certainly didn't have the budget of other major films you'll find, but it gives a very philosophical and insightful look into a sport that is stereotyped just a little too much."
Failed hope that Hollywood would finally "get" surfing right
Timothy B. Maddux | Corvallis, OR USA | 08/31/2001
(1 out of 5 stars)
""In God's Hands" arrived amidst a lot of hope and hype during its production, being the first surf movie produced by a Hollywood studio that boasted real surfers as the writers (former writer for SURFER and Surfing magazines, Matt George) and stars of the movie (Shane Dorian, Matt George, and Matty Liu). Overall, it failed, horribly.The movie is a visual feast, both in terms of the waves and the stars. Its incoherent plot is a major disappointment, especially coming from Matt George. The motivations of the three major characters remain completely mystifying to even a surfing-savvy audience throughout the film's first two acts, and their interrelationship lacks any chemistry whatsoever. Until the three main characters hook up with the tow-in crew of Doerner, Kealuana, Randle, and Cabrinha, the movie flops and spasms about the Indian Ocean like a fish out of water, with George's character, Mickey, taking the most absurd moments to spout bizarre one-liners. "Have you ever had an epiphany?" he shouts in the middle of an extended, flashy and confusing car chase / prison breakout. This sequence and others like it highlight the major problem with the movie. The writers have added in too much weak material to what could have been an interesting story about travelling surfers doing year-round training in Indonesia and other locations in preparation for Hawaii's big waves. I can see the studio executives throwing distractions into the pot: "Add some romance!" "What about a car chase?" The exploits of the surfers aren't enough for them. So, we don't get to see enough of the conversations between Brian Kealuana and the rest of his crew when talking about water safety, and we see too much of an inexplicable rock concert in Bali that occupies a seemingly endless amount of screen time. The cast for the film is comprised almost entirely of surfers who have never acted on the screen before this film. The results are varied. Shaun Tomson is a pleasant and charismatic surprise as a kind of narrator. On the other hand, Shane Dorian's inexperience really shows in his role. While, to his credit, he had never acted before, and the director does his best by trying to make him dark, inexpressive, and mysterious, his scenes still come across as difficult and overacted. Matt George does little more with "Mickey" than rant and spew. The final shots of big wave tow-ins at Peahi are amazing, as are earlier sequences shot at Backdoor and Off-the-Wall, including several truly beautiful barrel rides by the late Todd Chesser, who stunt-doubled for Matt. Peahi is awe-inspiring, and the slow motion adrenaline of its footage beats any other Hollywood-produced waves, be they from "Deep Impact" or "The Perfect Storm." Since the movie's production the footage has definitely become outdated, with tow-in surfing having gone mainstream and bigger still at places like Cortes Bank and Mavericks as well as heavier at places like Teahupo'o.Ultimately, one wonders what sort of movie could have been made simply following the real tow-in crews like Hamilton and Doerner around on their training missions and surf sessions. What might have resulted if a director with a real connection to the ocean had the same opportunity and funding to bring one of their films to the big screen. I'm thinking of guys like Jack McCoy, or the up-and-coming Jack Johnson or Chris Malloy. It didn't happen, and unfortunately we are left with this bizarre convoluted mix that while visually pleasing to the eye, doesn't have much of anything to say. Surfers would do well to avoid this one, and non-surfers would be much more enlightened about the sport by a movie like "Liquid Stage" or "Surfing for Life.""
A look at a real surfers passion!
Timothy B. Maddux | 11/14/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
""In God's Hands" isn't a must-see for everyone, just for the surfers who understand what surfing is truly all about. It's not about scoring chicks or being cool, it's about the pure love and passion one feels for the power and beauty of the ocean and it's waves. It's a story of following dreams and never giving up. Honestly brilliant."
Save your money and buy a real surf movie!
Timothy B. Maddux | 11/28/2001
(1 out of 5 stars)
"If only the surfers in this movie could act as well as they surf, or if the script wasn't so cliche ridden and bad, or if they cut out the "action" scenes and showed just the surfing...oh, well. By all means avoid this sad excuse of a "surfing" movie and go buy either one of the Endless Summer movies. Go to your local surf shop and explore the many surf movies out there. Life's too short to waste money on another bad Hollywood "surfing" movie hatchet job."
Timothy B. Maddux | 06/13/2000
(1 out of 5 stars)
"It is by far the worst surfing movie EVER. It does not even COMPARE to Endless Summer I and II. I am sure that there are surfers out there that can surf, act, as well as articulate. If only I can get back the time I spent watching this movie!"